location: Lisbon, Portugal
the look: dress from H&M (their Coachella collection... I'm a little embarrassed about it), sunnies from Topshop, shoes by Birkenstock
I had a conversation the other day with someone who danced with niceties around a rather un-nice situation. I told them - you are far kinder than me. I have spent too long pleasing people and moulding myself to the will of others to let it happen any longer. I've had to grow comfortable with an assertiveness that runs through my body and seems to get stuck at my throat, the words removed before they reach my tongue by those who say - if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. But I wasn't born to be nice. I was born to run wild, and to allow my emotions to do the same.
Their response, while well intentioned, rattled with the hollow drive to keep me silent. Think about others, they said. Stop being so forceful, they said. Know when to pick your battles, they said.
I'm not sure I have the luxury to pick my battles. When the world is at arms against women, against our minds and our bodies, every day is a battle to wedge our way one inch closer to autonomy, to freedom, to self-expression. And if being forceful means speaking my mind - with kindness, always, but with a fierceness that people still seem to think women aren't supposed to have - then I can only laugh at those who whither in front of a sometimes sharp-tongued wit. If all it takes to scare people is stringing a few brave and vulnerable words together and allowing them to tumble untamed past my lips, demanding to be heard, acknowledged, recognized - then let our tongues be our swords and let the real battle begin.